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Intro to MoF

MoF Values

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An MoF Coach

As well as being punctual and reliable, these are

qualities that MoF coaches should have and be growing:


Assessing player needs

A learning coach


The MoF Session Checklist



The 7 things that a MoF session must have:

Problem statement

Session plan

Game-based learning

Simple, varied activities

High 'Active Learning Time'

Fair, fun, inclusive behaviours

Uninterrupted games (joy & flow)


5 key inputs into the session of an expert MoF coach:

Coaching interventions

Managing difference

Child collaboration and problem solving

Providing feedback to children

Bridging learning



Futsal Club

4pm Red class



End of session de-brief

Assistant coaches



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There are 4 core values at MoF. Coaches need to understand what these mean in practice and how they relate to the planning, delivery and evalution of sessions. You can read more about each below.


“The atmosphere at MoF is the key. It's an inclusive experience - all the players develop confidence”  – father of 9-year old Harry

Inclusion means that all players are challenged at a level appropriate to their needs. In all activities, all players should be challenged and should also experience success. This has various implications for coaches:

-          When doing pair work, or small group work – match players of equal ability, attitude, athleticism.

-          Swap partners regularly in order to challenge all players in different ways.

-          Identify players who are finding the task too easy, and set them a tougher challenge.

-          Identify players who are struggling and give them the help they need to succeed.

Let's look at an example: We have two children playing in a 1v1 for 10 minutes. It may be possible for many separate 1v1 challenges to take place between those two children in that time. It is important that both children experience some success during that activity, and both are pushed to find new ways to attack and new ways to defend. If the two players are of very unequal ability, then one player will find the task too easy and the other too difficult. The result of this is that neither player will gain maximum benefit from this task, and that players may not enjoy themselves either. The same situation may occur if one child is much bigger and stronger than the other, or if one player is much more motivated and dedicated than the other.

It will help coaches to know the birthdates of their players. This will help them identify which children are the oldest in the group and which are the youngest. There may be children who are big for their age, and although look old are actually relatively young (and vice-versa). This information will help the coach understand the behaviour and progress of the individuals in the group, and assist in planning and delivering activities and sessions in which all children are included and learn.

Click here for more information about grouping players.


“The principle goal of education is to create people who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done - people who are creative, inventive and discoverers”  

– Jean Piaget, Child Development Psychologist


Coach creativity is just as important as player creativity. When you have a wacky idea, trust yourself - try it out! Dare to be different. This country is riddled with coaching programmes that try to produce robots. (Many don’t seem to have noticed that robots don’t win World Cups!) We do not want to produce robots, and coaches aren’t expected to be machines. Be expressive, be creatve, don't be afraid to try new things. As the Football Association say, in The Future Game, 2010: "If we want to develop young players who are more creative and imaginative, more resilient and responsible, the coach must convey these values and beliefs in their own behavior with the players."

Horst Wein is one of the world's foremost mentors of football coaches and an expert on coaching creativity. Click here for an in-depth analysis of coaching creativity.

Other interesting links:

Kids today are less creative ; Fun and Engaging creative practices in golf


“Learning is what you do when you don't know what to do”  

– Guy Claxton, Professor of Learning Sciences


Learning is different from teaching. Learning does not require lectures, lengthy demonstrations, complicated instructions etc. Learning requires exposure, praise and time. Learning can be enticed and elicited through questioning, through good/quick demonstrations and suggestions – but the main teacher should be the game/activity itself.

Football in 20 years time will be very different from the game today. The game will grow and change in ways we cannot imagine, just as it has done in the past 20 years. Which players will lead this growth and change?  If we teach children only what we know, then we limit them to our own level of learning. We want our children to be better than us, to lead the game of the future – so allow them the freedom to develop their own style and skills (rather than just doing what you tell them or show them).

"The more experience the player gets at playing, the more they learn to read the clues, cues and triggers that constantly present themselves in the game and the more they will develop those lightning-quick assessing, predicting and adapting skills which will help them to move at the right speed, in the right direction and arrive at wherever they need to be, at the right time."

- Paul Holder, FA National Player Development Coach, 12-16

At MoF we believe that learning happens when children are faced with tricky situations that they need to find answers to. It might be how to defend during a 1v1 or how to keep the ball during a 2v2 etc. We believe that children need to experience as many of these situations as possible in order to maximize their learning. No two football situations are ever exactly the same, rather there are lots of similar situations that repeat themselves over and over. Players don’t need a prescribed answer to a situation or activity. They need the skills, confidence and creativity to find their own answers.


"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge”  

– Albert Einstein


For many children, the magic of football is that it allows instinct and expression to take over from the deliberate and rehearsed learning that often happens in the school classroom. This celebration of expression and creativity should be a common theme through everything we do at MoF.

Joy is getting lost in the present moment. Allow players in your sessions to enjoy the here and now. There’s no need to baffle them with what they did last week, or what they need to do over the next year, or what they have to remember for later. They are not at school. We are not school.


Flow is the mental state in which someone is fully immersed in an activity. They have a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. They have completely focused motivation, and their emotions are positive and energized. (In sports, we sometimes refer to this as being ‘in the zone’).

Children can feel flow at times during football sessions, although it is probably more likely that this feeling will take place during game-related activities than during technical drills. Flow can be disrupted by constant stops in the activity, by over-coaching or by criticism.

There are three conditions that are necessary to achieve the flow state:

  1. Children must be involved in an activity with a clear set of goals. This adds direction and structure to the task.
  2. Children must have a good balance between the perceived challenges of the task at hand and their own perceived skills. Children must have confidence that they are capable to do the task at hand.
  3. The task at hand must have clear and immediate feedback (praise/support). This helps the child negotiate any changing demands and allows him or her to adjust his or her performance to maintain the flow state.

Coaches need to recognize when children are in flow states. For example, if children in a small-sided game are all lost in concentration, working intensely and producing constant moments of flair – then it is likely that they have found a state of flow. It is desirable for this state to continue uninterrupted as it is conducive to enjoyment, creativity and learning. Coaches might choose to extend the duration of this activity, even if this is not in-line with their session plan.

Music can help produce an environment which encourages flow states. Children are much more likely to find a state of flow when they can get lost in their own worlds, lose inhibitions, and express themselves without fear of failure or criticism. MoF believes that music helps generate this kind of environment.